Why New Year's Resolutions Fail - and what you can do instead

January 1, 2015 is almost here and I've got that clean slate feeling going on! I'll bet you know the feeling too - there's a big bright year ahead of you with no mistakes, no failures, no entire days wasted on Netflix. (Damn you House of Cards! And Downton Abbey... and Sherlock)

Here's the thing - January 1st is a day like any other. It just feels different because of the expectations we put on that date.

And that's not a bad thing, in fact you can use it to your advantage. (I'll get to that in a minute.) 

There are some very real reasons why most people don't achieve success with making resolutions, goals, wishes, dreams, etc. I'm not going to go into all the reasons that making resolutions is pointless - you can read a million-and-one articles on the internet about that, and besides, I don't think it's pointless -  and I won't give you an excuse to give up on your dreams. Because, really, what's the point in that?

why new year's resolutions fail

So what am I going to do?! I'm giving you some of the tools that have worked for me and have allowed me to achieve some of my life goals. Starting this website, for instance, was a huge dream for me. Living the dream, baby. Living the dream! 

Your Goal Making, Wishing on a Star, New Year's Resolution, Big Dream Toolkit

  • Figure out what you REALLY want (and why you want it) - this one sounds simple, but it's key to your success. Are you making a particular resolution because you think you should? Or other people think you should? RED FLAG - if the word should comes up when making resolutions, run screaming from that goal. Why? Because you're destined to fail at something that you think you ‘should’ do. And then you feel like a big ole failure, which is doubly awful because you failed at something you DON'T EVEN WANT TO DO. Spend some time asking yourself what you truly want - and go for that. 
  • Limit the number of goals you set - you can't do it all. Or, at least, you can't do it all at once. You already have a very full life. You can't introduce 15 new goals into it at once. Pick a few dreams that are the most important to you now and work on those. 
  • Think BIG, but start small - Most dreams are really big and that can be overwhelming. Instead of trying to go from point A to point Z right away, figure out what points B, C, and D are. There are teeny tiny mini-goals involved in achieving what you want. Figure out what they are and plot a more realistic path for yourself. 
  • Be flexible. Goals change - You may want something really badly now that isn't all that important to you 6 months from now. That's okay. Which brings me to - 
  • Treat the first of every month as a New Year's Day' - Get that clean slate feeling every single month and use it to your advantage! Review your goals and tweak them. Something no longer important? Scratch it out. Is a goal too vague? Get specific. Did you make progress on your goal(s)? Celebrate your successes! 
  • Have a plan for when everything goes to sh*t & kick guilt & shame to the curb - I was supposed to launch this website in October. It didn't happen until December. Why? My cat, Cadeau, went missing on my birthday in September, and my dog, Beau, died in October. We assume that Cadeau has also died. Everything in my life stopped except for the essentials - work, eat, sleep. All I had space for was mourning my two fur-babies. And I felt really guilty about all that I wasn't doing until I realized how futile it was to add guilt and shame to my already crappy feelings.

Life happens. Sometimes you just have to deal with where you are instead of where you want to be. Practice loving yourself when you have a hiccup on the way to success.

  • Make FUN resolutions too - Guess what's on my resolution list this year? Once a month I will pamper myself in some way - get a massage or a mani/pedi, take a bubble bath, treat myself to dessert, etc. I think making and keeping resolutions like this actually help me achieve the other more challenging resolutions I set for myself. 
  • Figure out what works for you - This is the most important tip by far. Working toward a dream is ongoing. Getting there is a process. If none of my advice sounds right to you, scrap it, but think about what does feel right. And go for it. 

Talk to me! Do you like setting goals? Do you have any suggestions to add to my list? Share your wisdom in the comments section below.

xo Nic

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